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Aimee Foley: 'When the abuse started I was too young to understand. I don’t think I ever understood.' Photograph by John Kelly

‘You stole, spat on and destroyed by soul, my childhood’

Champion Chatter Podcast

Dan Danaher on the comprehensive victim impact statement of Aimee Foley following her father’s conviction and sentencing for raping and abusing her

An Ennistymon woman who was sexually abused and raped by her own father has described him as a “monster, paedophile and an animal”.

In fact, Aimee Foley outlined in her Victim Impact Statement read out in the Central Criminal Court calling Michael O’Donoghue an animal is “an insult to the animal kingdom because no animal on the planet could have and would have done what you did to me”.

“You stole, spat on and destroyed by soul, my childhood. You stabbed me in my heart with your betrayal, your malice. You have ruined me.

“I hope you are happy knowing you broke your own child. I won’t allow this though. I won’t allow your manipulation to keep me restrained, to overpower me. I will beat you. I will learn to overcome what you did to me. I will learn to cope again. I will learn to get out of this survival mode and live my life. The life you destroyed. I hope it breaks you like it has me to know that you won’t always control me. It is my life and I will live it.”

Aimee outlined her father’s actions in destroying her life was the reason he was brought before the court.

She said he was the reason why she self-harmed for years, pulling and dragging at her stretch marks so that she could feel pain but no-one would ask questions.

“You were the reason I made myself sick after eating so I could be loved by you without imperfection. You are the reason I tried to kill myself in the bath so many years ago, but I couldn’t do it in case there was a chance you could love me like your own in the future.

“I have called you dad five times during this statement and I hope every time you heard it, it struck you in your heart. This is the last time you will ever hear me call you that. You are not my dad, you are not my father. I don’t claim you anymore. You are a monster, a paedophile, an animal.”

People have told Aimee she should be grateful that her father pleaded guilty, but asked what about the times when he didn’t and told everyone she was a “liar, an alcoholic, a drug addict and someone who had bipolar disorder”.

“You blackened my name, you called your own child a liar even though you knew the truth. I lost a whole family because of you. I lost friends because of you. I lost the will to live because of you.

“You told me lies about my mother, my grandfather, my uncles; everyone in my life you lied about.

“I have a few regrets in my life but listening to you and trusting you the way I did is one of my biggest. I blame myself for believing you, but that is what a child does, they trust their parents. I trusted you dad and that’s why and how you got your manipulation to work so well.”

She recalled her father made her sit and read through every solicitor’s letter ever sent between him and her mother when he brought her to court to gain access to her.

“You fought to see me and then all my life you abused me in every humanly possible way. You made believe it was a form of love.”

She outlined when she tries to write down emotions that she wants to convey, she goes blank. It is quite normal for her to go numb, because this is what she has learned to do.

“When the abuse started I was too young to understand. I don’t think I ever understood. The man that claimed to be my father didn’t allow me to understand, dulling my senses with the one thing I couldn’t resist – acceptance.

“I was always told by you a father’s role was protect and provide, but you did neither of those things. The only thing you provided me with was years of emotional conflict ion and pain, physical turmoil, sexual abuse, drug habits, the list could go on. How can you call yourself my father?”

While her father may have washed his hands of what he did, Aimee can’t.

“I can still see the blood on my hands, I still see the way it stuck underneath my nails. I still see how it stained my thighs as I sat on the toilet scrubbing confused.

“The pain still runs through my body, every hour of every day. You raped me dad. You raped me on that night and in my head you rape me every day.

“I can feel your breath on my neck, remembering how you grabbed me the next morning and said how I was a filthy drunk slut that came onto you.

“I hear your voice, patronising me, assaulting me with your words. I hear every critique, every possible thing you could say to me, making me question every decision I make in my life.”

At the age of 12, she recalled her father gave her a glass of Pinot Grigio and then gave her whiskey when she didn’t like the taste of her first drink.

About halfway through the bottle, she said her father offered her a joint.

“During the whole session with me, you spoke to me about sex in so many ways. How to pleasure a woman, how to pleasure a man, how easily you could dominate me if you wanted.

“When you put on the porn you spoke of how your favourite category was ‘daddy and daughter, telling me, your 12-year-old daughter was the only person that crossed your mind when you ejaculated. How is this normal? How is that sane?

“That night when you put me to bed you told me you had to stay in my room in case I went green. That night was the first time I remembered you molesting me. I remember you touching me over my underwear, groping my underage body, but you tried to cover your tracks, telling me that’s what you did when you were asleep to your wife.

“I snuck out of the room that night into the small box room and shook in fear. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. I thought you were asleep, but I was proven wrong when I heard you walk down the stairs five minutes later.”

College was where Aimee started remembering the abuse her father put her through.

“You quizzed me about my boyfriend at the time asking me had I had sex with him yet.

“I felt obligated to tell you because sex was something we spoke so frequently about. I tried to disclose as little as I could, telling you lies that I knew you would be happy with.

“That was the conversation in which you told me I don’t even remember having sex for the first time, and that’s when I knew what happened to me years ago wasn’t a figment of my imagination.

“This new information took its toll on me. I stopped attending my lectures finding myself in the student union almost daily.

“I stopped eating. I stopped showering. I stopped living. I wished myself dead because it was easier than reliving this new unfamiliar torture. I stayed in my bed for days, stopping contact with the outside world.”

“If it was not for my roommates and boyfriend at the time, I don’t think I would have had the courage to tell my family and I don’t think I would be here to tell my story.”

She concluded her statement by stressing she will learn to get out of survival mode and live her life.

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